Terry Rupert’s national reputation for having a finger on the pulse of collegiate athletics culminated with a recent invitation by Harvard University to join the Advisory Board for Harvard Seminars for College Athletic Leaders.
Rupert, vice president for athletic administration, has served as Wilmington College’s athletics director since 1996. He’s spent the past six years as a member of the NCAA’s Management Council representing the 485 Division III institutions. As council chair in 2013 and ’14, he was a member of the Board of Governors, which is the upper echelon of NCAA management under president Mark Emmert.
“I’ve been fortunate to have 15 years of committee work from the NCAA in which I’ve learned a great deal,” he said. “I think being on the Board of Governors and working with Dr. Emmert resulted in this opportunity.”
For decades, Harvard has been offering world-renowned professional development and executive education programs across many sectors of society. Rupert will be on the ground floor of its newest program in the field of college athletics, according to Harvard’s James Soto Antony, who collaborated with Emmert in identifying a group of senior leaders “who can bring essential talent and critical perspective to the table.”
Antony told Rupert in the invitation, “You are one of those leaders.”
“I promise you highly focused, intellectually stimulating conversations that will lead to real program development,” he wrote.
The advisory council’s work will include collaboration from the NCAA, along with participation from leaders “representing every facet of college athletics,” Antony added.
Rupert expects the council will consider such topics as the pay for play/amateurism issue, concussions and other safety concerns, youth sports and early specialization, and the role of athletics and academics.
“I’ll have the opportunity to work with some of the top minds in the field,” Rupert said. “It’s a little intimidating, but exciting to be part of something as big as this, a scholarly study with Harvard.”
The advisory council will hold its initial meeting at the NCAA Convention in San Antonio in January, with future meeting locales likely to include Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., according to Rupert, whose 38-year career as a professional in athletics spans serving as a high school and college coach and 22 years as an athletics director, the past 19 at WC.